Eating In: Kale “Nacho” Bowl

As you know, there’s nothing I love more than a good bowl for dinner. So, when I spotted Minimalist Baker’s Vegan Kale Chip Nachos, I was intrigued – and promptly bowl-ified it.

Kale "Nacho" Bowl

My favorite thing about bowls is that they’re infinitely customizable – making them (1) very easy to make fit your own preferences and (2) very easy to adapt to what’s already in your fridge (or lacking from it). This bowl takes a particularly healthy turn with a base of crispy kale “chips,” dusted with spices and nutritional yeast.

Side note: I am really bad at making crispy kale. Other people’s kale seems to turn out so much crispier than mine. What am I doing wrong?!

Anyway, while the kale crisps, you cook up some beans and fry off some sweet potato slices (I may have overcooked those a bit, those black spots are not your target look). I also chopped up some toppings, including red onion, cilantro, and avocado.

Cooking Beans Cooking Sweet Potatoes Prepping Ingredients

Finally, everything gets piled together in a bowl! Mine is certainly not vegan, because I added sour cream, but you could certainly go back to the original recipe and skip that addition (sour cream is SO GOOD though, am I right?). And of course, feel free to add all your own favorite nacho fixings like salsa (which I did) and cheese (which I did not).

The result? A filling, pretty healthy, and quite easy weeknight dinner. Plus, it’s so colorful!

Kale "Nacho" Bowl

Kale “Nacho” Bowl
Adapted slightly from Dana Shultz of Minimalist Baker

I really enjoyed this simple bowl, which had heartiness from the sweet potatoes and beans, healthiness from the kale, and a lot of flavor from all the spices and toppings.

Yield: 2-4 Servings

Ingredients
Kale “Chip” Base
1 large or 2 small bundles curly kale
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Healthy pinch each sea salt + black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

Black Beans
1 15-ounce can black beans, slightly drained
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt, to taste

Sweet Potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large sweet potato (~150 g), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

Toppings (Optional)
Avocado
Salsa
Fresh chopped cilantro
Sliced red onion
Sour cream

Instructions
Preheat oven to 225°F and prep kale by rinsing, thoroughly drying, and tearing into small pieces (discard any large stems).

Add kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle with oil. Use hands to massage the kale to disperse the oil. Add salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and nutritional yeast (optional) to the kale and toss with hands to distribute.

Spread kale onto a large baking sheet(s) in an even layer, making sure the pieces aren’t overlapping to ensure crispiness. You may need to bake them in 2 batches depending on size of baking sheets.

Bake for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven and toss/stir to ensure even baking. Bake for 5-10 minutes more or until chips are crispy and slightly golden brown. Watch carefully to ensure they don’t burn.

In the meantime, add slightly drained black beans to a small saucepan along with cumin and chili powder (add salt if beans are unsalted) and warm over medium heat. Once bubbling, reduce to low to keep warm. Stir occasionally.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon oil and spread to coat the surface. Then add sliced sweet potatoes in a single layer. Cover to steam. Cook for 3-5 minutes, checking every couple of minutes to see if the undersides are brown. Once brown, flip to the other side, cover, and continue cooking until both sides are brown and potatoes are tender (about 7-8 minutes total). Set aside.

To serve, place kale into bowls and top with sweet potatoes, black beans, and any other desired toppings, such as avocado, salsa, cilantro, red onion, or sour cream.

Kale "Nacho" Bowl

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Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 38-40

Week 38 – Technical: 50mm [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Learn to sneaker zoom! Shoot an image using only the 50mm Focal Length. Either use a fixed 50mm lens or set your zoom lens to 50mm. Since this is the advanced challenge make sure the image is compelling.

This image compels me to eat, I’ll tell you that! Kidding…I took a photo walk by my house with my 50mm and happened upon this sign in a nearby cafe. As it happens, that’s the lens I usually shoot with, so no biggie.

Dogwood Week 38

Week 39 – Art: Water [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Your inspiration this week is water. Interpret this how you will.

Another favorite shot of the challenge, taken just as light turned to golden on the Venice Canals. Spot the little water bird in the shadows!

Dogwood Week 39

Week 40 – Story: Colorful B & W [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Tell the story of a colorful scene. Because this is the advanced challenge, no flowers. Do it in Black and White.

This one was HARD – I didn’t find many opportunities that were both colorful and would read in black and white, so eventually took this shot of L.A. at sunset. It’s pretty, but I’m not sure it captures the heart of the challenge…

Dogwood Week 40

Out and About in Massachusetts: Whale Watching

On the last day of our most recent visit Gloucester, we decided at the last minute to try to get tickets on a whale watching excursion. I hadn’t been on a whale watch  since I can remember (so, mayyyybe childhood?), and it was a beautiful late summer day. Of course, our last-minuteness also meant it was super hard to get tickets, but eventually we lucked out with Capt. Bill and Sons. Before long, we were loaded onto a boat and off to sea (spoiler alert: we found some whales)!

Whale Tail

The trip out to see the whales was pretty – especially while we were still near Gloucester and passing lighthouses and seagulls and boats – but quite long, as the whales were actually hanging out closer to Cape Cod (the whole round trip took 4-5 hours). The boat was well equipped with seats and bathrooms and a pretty impressive snack bar, but the Boy ended up getting a bit seasick, which made the long trip even longer for him. I enjoyed the sun and wind and ocean views, and didn’t have too much trouble with the motion.

Eventually, we got to the whales, and the whole boat was immediately up in arms rushing from side to side to see them. A number of other boats had gathered on the scene, but we still got our fill. The staff was great about explaining which whales these were (they were studying them) and how they were behaving.

Whales

We never saw a WHOLE whale, as their behavior pattern went something like this:

  • Rise to the surface to breath, maybe spout some mist
  • Stay at the surface for a few moments
  • Dip back under the water, flashing a dramatic tail as they did so (photo op!)

They seemed perfectly content to swim among the boats, putting on a little show as they went about their day.

After we’d watched the whales for a while (say that five times fast), we headed back to Gloucester – more hours on the clear blue sea. We neared the harbor just as the golden hour was setting in, which made for a pretty arrival (and a gratitude-filled one for the more seasick among us). Overall, a bit of a long excursion but a nice way to spend a beautiful afternoon. (I mean, nature is awesome.)

Coming Home to Gloucester
Sailing Ship at Golden Hour

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 32-35

More from our weekly photography challenge! I’ve almost caught you up to where we are…kinda?

Week 32 – Technical: HDR [Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
HDR is the technique of combining several photos of the same scene but shot at different exposures to create an image with a High Dynamic Range.

I am not good with HDR (I  think it might be that it’s just not my personal photography style) – so I may have cheated a bit with some post filtering to get this HDR look.

Dogwood Week 32 Continue reading

Out and About in Massachusetts: Quarry Dance 6

The Boy and I were in Massachusetts recently for a wedding, and as our services weren’t needed the morning before the wedding we were looking for something to do. As it so happened, that morning at breakfast our B&B hostess told us about Quarry Dance 6, an event happening at the nearby Flat Ledge Quarry.

Flat Ledge Quarry

Note: that’s the last picture you’ll see of the quarry without dancers or a plastic flamingo in it, so prepare to play a little “Where’s Waldo” if you don’t spot them immediately.

Continue reading

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 28-31

We’re still catching up with the weekly photos challenges! Here’s a few more…

Week 28 – Story: Portrait as Landscape 
[Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Shoot a portrait that is posing as a landscape. Tell a story of the subject using the landscape around them. Fool the viewer.

I didn’t come across any good actual landscapes to serve in this challenge, so I ended up getting creative with Photoshop and a self-portrait.

Dogwood Week 28
Continue reading

No Recipe Required: Berry Crumble

If I’m going to bring dessert to a party, I want to make it – I don’t get to do a ton of baking (since if I bake without occasion the two of us just…eat it all), so I always jump at the opportunity. Sometimes, however, there come those events that are timed just such that you don’t have time to hit the grocery store or prep a pie crust with enough time to let it chill. Enter: Crumble.

Berry Crumble

Crumble is a simple but extremely effective dessert – cooked, jammy fruit topped with crunchy, sweet, crispy, buttery goodness. With the help of The Kitchn’s recipe, I’ll walk you through it, but it’s pretty flexible once you’ve got the basics. Continue reading

Dogwood Photography Challenge: Weeks 24-27

Clearly, I’m behind on my blog posting, but I HAVE been keeping up with the Dogwood Photography Challenge behind the scenes. Here’s the first in a series of posts to get you all caught up on where we are with that…

Week 24 – Artistic: Green 
[Shot with Canon EF 50mm/f1.8 II]
Your inspiration this week is green. Green is the color of life, nature, and hope.

Green seems like it should be easy, but only at the last minute did I land on this arrangement of pretty succulents.

Dogwood Week 24
Continue reading